Toronto has a long and vibrant labour history. The Toronto Workers’ History Project (TWHP) acknowledges that Toronto is situated upon the traditional territories of the Wendat, Anishinabek Nation, the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, and the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation.
The treaty that was signed for this particular parcel of land is collectively referred to as the Toronto Purchase and applies to lands east of Browns Line to Woodbine Avenue and north towards Newmarket. We acknowledge the enduring presence of Indigenous peoples on this land.
The TWHP also acknowledges serious ongoing marginalization of and discrimination against Indigenous communities in Ontario and Canada, and pledge our collective efforts to remedy this colonial heritage.
They argue that this will be better for all of society, give workers leisure to spend with families, at cultural pursuits, and educating themselves.
The movement develops a coordinated strategy of general strikes to start May 1872, in Hamilton, but the Toronto Typographical Union jumps the gun and in March strikes against the newspaper publishers, led by George Brown’s Globe.
In April, 1872, 10,000 supporters of the printers rally in Queen’s Park. The Executive Committee of the Printers’ Union are arrested and charged with seditious conspiracy.
Sir John A. Macdonald’s government in Ottawa then passes a Trade Unions Act that makes unions legal, rather than criminal conspiracies.
During the strike, Toronto labour leaders begin publishing The Ontario Workman, the city’s (and Canada’s) first labour newspaper. It continues for several years.